Tag Archives: Metro Devils

Devils Lose Two and One

Metro Devils Cricket Team

Devils Lose Two and One

22nd June 2019

Well the weather has improved and Metro have beaten Yorkshire twice, in the BBS cup at home and away in the league. The cup win means a home semi-final with the opportunity to avenge last year’s defeat in the final as Sussex visit on 6th July.

The Devils have not taken up playing golf but did lose two players to injury, Ahmed unable to bowl after his first over had conceded just 8 runs and then at the start of the chase, Jack – who pulled up lame taking an easy single while running for Hassan.

They ended up on 153 chasing 155 to win as Brenda was run out on the last ball of an enthralling match. In fact, if the scores had been tied the Dolphins would have won as they had taken 7 wickets while the Devils only took two.

On a perfect afternoon for cricket, with lots of pleasant blue sky but the temperature not too hot, the day started well for the home side as they won the toss and asked Dorset to bat. It was the visitors, however, who may have been the happier after the opening exchanges as they reached 48 for 1 after seven overs having lost run one opener bowled by the home skipper.

Tim McKenzie remained in however and was hitting the ball hard to all parts of the ground – although the stumps at the bowler’s end did deny him one almost certain four, stopping the ball dead and turning a good shot into a dot ball. There was just one chance offered in his innings, the ball after his new partner had been run out from sharp fielding by Brenda at mid-wicket, as he skied one toward square leg but Ryan could not quite get under the ball. He retired on 51, including three fours and a huge 6 over square leg from a no ball, with the score on 116 at the end of fourteen overs. This left Ben and the away skipper, Steve, to finish off the innings which they did well including getting 15 vital runs off the final over.

The chase started after just a short break, as it was agreed to take tea after the game, with Ryan and Chris opening. They only managed 14 together before Chris was bowled bringing Hassan and Ryan together. They batted well taking the runs on offer and picking the extras donated by the visitors to get to a position that looked to have the Devils well ahead until Ryan was run out in not quite getting back for a second run with 80 runs on the board after eight overs and two balls.

However this wicket led to a collapse of near national scale; Asif went two, boundary 4, then caught out and Dave Samuels was also out before the half way mark,leg before to the way skipper. At ten overs the Devils with 97 had 32 more runs in the bag, so still seemed well placed with Everton, Brenda and the injured Jack all still to bat.

The visitors had other ideas and kept their bowling tight and fielding energetic, so that after Hassan was bowled by his opposite number with the score on 105, they were able to squeeze with Everton and Brenda unsure of their running together and so were restricted to a partnership of 34 from 44 balls. The Devils scoring worm had still stayed ahead of the Dolphins apart from the end on the 14th over when it was one behind.

There was some confusion about Jack coming into bat with a runner before Brenda ended the eighteenth over with a single. The score 140, the worm 5 ahead and 15 needed from two overs. A single from Brenda and three lusty blows all for 2 from an immobile Jack left the worm 8 ahead and the equation of 8 needed from six balls.

Who was the pressure on as Tim was given the ball for the last over? A dot meant very clearly the batsman, but then Brenda got one very fine behind the stumps for two and perhaps the pendulum swung back? The next ball was probably the most critical in the over as a great stop by the Dolphins total at square leg meant a dot ball. Brenda got off strike to leave Jack with the task of scoring 5 from two balls, so a boundary needed. Jack could only manage a two to fine leg and then that single as Dorset collected the ball at fine leg to run out Brenda at the bowler’s end with a relay throw via the wicket keeper.

Wow – amazing stuff which leaves the league for the Devils to concentrate on with games to come against Dorset away and Berkshire at home, their last home fixture of the season on August 10th.

Report by Paul Toplis

 

Cricket: It’s a Washout! 

Metro Devils vs Gloucestershire Growlers 

It’s a Washout! 

Metro Devils vs Gloucestershire Growlers 

5th May 2019

A washout that was not just rain but hail too at about six-fifteen; the fourth time that rain had interfered with the Devils match against the Gloucestershire Growlers bringing it to an end. The home side was very disappointed as this meant their fantastic performance could not end as a win, with just 24 runs required and plenty of overs to spare. This was however not quite the washout of the week before when Metro had not been able to start their defence of the National League title in Yorkshire as the game was called off on Friday evening. A rearrangement is hoped for.

Wicket, bat and ball with the cricket match in the background
Wicket, bat and ball with the cricket match in the background – photo by Charlie Raven

So to return to this Saturday where the match between two well-matched teams began with the home skipper, Hassan, hardly able to get out quickly enough a decision to field first after winning the toss. The home side had two debutants Prem Sellathurai and Mujahaid Zabit while the visitors included one very familiar face in their team – Aemonn having joined the Growlers over the winter. A winter that was still present as a shower delayed the start until almost one thirty.

Metro Devils Cricket Team
Metro Devils Cricket Team

Once able to start the Devils made the early running with the skipper taking a diving catch at short cover in Jack’s first over, this wicket being followed just two overs later by that of the away skipper bowled to leave the visitors on 17 for 2 at the first bowling change. A couple of overs later after two batsmen had been clean bowled Aemonn was facing Asif’s hat trick ball; which he was able to block. A few overs later he did not block but skied the ball straight up, surely aware of the risk giving who was bowling, as Ryan was able to run down the pitch and take a brilliant diving catch, perhaps an early contender for “catch of the season”; with just 60 runs on the board.

The next wicket to fall also involved Ryan who gathered a wild return from Hassan to complete a run out just one ball before thunder and lightning brought a ten-minute break in play that reduced the game to 50 overs. The next few overs were the best for the visitors as their opener, Dan, reached 50 before having to retire; and the Devils then regained the upper hand as Jack took his third wicket. This left the visitors desperately running hard to grab as many runs as possible. Rob and Dave Samuels both picked up wickets and then, Ryan having moved off the boundary to short cover, secured a run out as one risk too many was taken – leaving Dan on 62 and a target of 151 to win from 23 overs.

With rain still threatening and the temperature distinctly chilly tea was hurried as sitting outside was unpleasant and the devils were very keen to start their run chase. Metro openers Prem and Ryan raced, at times literally – as Ryan could certainly run three while Prem ran two and was not far short of running two while Prem ran one, to 76 from eight overs before another twenty-minute rain break before the umpires were satisfied that the ground was dry enough to play safely again. Ryan reached his 50 with a drive through cover for two off a no-ball with 83 on the board just one over later. Hassan joined Prem before being forced off injured to be replaced by Ahmed as the continued chill had forced Mujahaid, among others, to change from his kit into warmer clothes leaving a limited choice of substitutes. The Growlers were still unable to slow the scoring rate which remained at about ten an over until the final storm came leaving Prem on 31 scored at a run a ball.

The next cricket at Highgate sees Northants playing Metro on the 18th, while in other news the delayed 2018 T20 cup finals saw Somerset emerge as winners by beating Yorkshire and Northants on another chilly, but at least dry, day in Wolverhampton.

Report By Paul Toplis

 

 

Surrey Derby Devils Ahead by a Nose

Metro Devils Cricket Team

Surrey Derby – Devils Ahead by a Nose

21st July 2018

Saturday at Highgate was the first match in a double header over two weekends as the Devils faced Surrey in the league before the regional T20 cup semi-final at Frimley on Sunday 29th July. This local derby had added spice, as Hassan and Jack were facing their team-mates from last year; while Surrey had both Lois and Amit in their side. The weather was another in this year’s long run of splendid warm and sunny days – with the square at Highgate made obvious by the bright green grass in the sea of brown and yellow – where the ground staff had been making sure pitches for use later in the year were well watered.

The Devils had a great start to the afternoon as they won the toss, choosing to bowl first, and then just 5 balls into the game had a wicket as Dave Allen drove DS to extra where Nick, in his first game for the Devils, took a good low catch. The closest they came to a second wicket was a half out with Andy bowling to Mo Ahmed – a compliment that was to be returned later in the day when Andy was batting.

At drinks the score was 93 for 1, but soon after Lois had to retire after reaching 50 with an all run four following confusion in the field left the ball lying still near the boundary with no-one nearby able to see it. A rapid 50 from Surrey’s skipper followed so that the score reached 169 for one as he took a single to reach his milestone. From that point on the shape of the innings turned in favour of the Devils. With the next ball Dave Samuels bowled Mo and then on the last ball of the over trapped Scott LBW; so in one over five runs and two wickets.

The final nine overs of the innings saw Surrey trying very hard to score as many runs as possible – taking chances along the way; and surely helping Amit to twelve at a strike rate of 150. The risky approach resulted in three run outs as Alan and Nick threw in well and then on the last ball of the innings Brenda beat Lois in a race from the strikers end to prevent a run and claim a seventh wicket. Gary had meanwhile chipped in by bowling Lizzie.

Devils were keen to know the targets for their reply – the 231 for a win was clear as was the 200 for a batting bonus point but calculation was needed to confirm that 198 were needed for the winning draw, a required rate of 8.25. Surrey bowled very well at the start and had their mobile fielders in the right places to cut off possible boundaries and so ensure some good shots were rewarded only with a single. Dave and Gary were watchful and careful as they settled in; their scoring was slower than the rate and the worm was behind Surrey until the ninth over where both batsmen scored boundaries off Mo.

At drinks they had scored 110, so were not quite up with the rate needed for a win but it did look as if 200 should be possible. DS retired shortly afterwards after an opening stand of 115. With Andy Law at the crease Surrey sensed an opportunity to slow the scoring rate but Andy was no slouch – when Gary was bowled by Mo to make the score 155 for 1, he had 16 and a strike rate of 160 that included a great pull square of the wicket that had the umpire moving rapidly to evade being hit. Andy’s second boundary just after Gary was out meant the Devils needed just 24 from the last five overs to reach the winning draw.

In fact they chased hard hoping that a win could be achieved only for their innings to end in a similar way to Surrey’s as there were three run outs in those five overs. Andy fell just 4 short of 50 while Everton and Chris could not keep up with Brenda’s pace and both sacrificed their wickets in the chase. Brenda had got a rapid 19 but it was not enough – so when Jack came to the crease he just blocked out Dave Allen’s last two balls as 17 off two had made the win impossible.

The winning draw was good for the Devils in the league with games to come at Gloucestershire and at home to Dorset Dolphins on the 4th August. Next week however it is the T20 cup – will Surrey gain revenge for this week’s result? The Devil’s would welcome support at Frimley  as they aim to secure a place in the final at Hatherley and Reddings in Gloucestershire on 26th August.

Report by Paul Toplis

 

Cricket: It’s a Washout!

Metro Devils Cricket Team

22nd July

Half past three on a Saturday afternoon at Highgate – the open space full of people enjoying the fantastic open space, relaxing with friends, jogging, sunbathing, walking the dog, playing games, cricket in progress on the square. Just normal life happening, but not this week.

Huddled under the limited shelter offered by the trees and the tiny canopy of the scorebox the wet and chilled players from Metro Devils and Berkshire were asking “where is everybody?” as they looked across the deserted open space. There was a children’s party in progress with everyone squeezed into the veranda of the café but the rain had driven everyone else away. A huge disappointment in a summer so full of hot, sunny, glorious days well suited to cricket.

There had been cricket, starting just a few minutes early as the Devils were encouraged onto the field as the heavy cloud cover was menacing three hours earlier and so every effort was being made by the umpires to get as much cricket as possible played.

Dave was back in charge and skilfully flipped the coin to win the toss, choosing to bowl and so give the Devils the best chance of a win. A finish time of seven was agreed to allow time to be lost to the expected showers and David Burt was given the responsibility of opening the bowling from the scorebox end. It was not long before the showers started, although at first the rain was gentle and as the scorer was well protected with a brolly the game was able to carry on.

There were times when a heavier burst arrived, but only for a few balls and so drinks were reached at 15 overs with no time lost. The score was 100 for three but the rain now started to take charge and the drinks break was extended as a result.

At last there was a break in the rain and the teams returned to the pitch but with just one more over bowled for six runs and no wicket the rain returned. The players came off and tea was soon taken early as the steady rain continued. A pitch inspection revealed small puddles on the wicket, which was very slippery on the bowlers run ups. The weather forecast was now predicting more of the same, so the captains agreed that waiting around cold and damp until six 0’clock was not worthwhile and agreed to abandon the game.

So then to bring you the three critical overs that gained the Devils their bowling bonus point.

12.55 David Burt from the scorebox end

The visiting skipper is looking to take anything straight to the leg side and gets off the mark with a two to backward square. However the field is well set and when he repeats the shot but with the trajectory rather higher the well placed Everton jogs in, steadies himself, and takes a good catch. The batsmen cross and Tom learns the lesson that the ball needs to stay low as he takes two boundaries to end the over. 15 for 1

Over 3 David Burt from the scorebox end

A couple of wides to the visitors number three and then a straight one that has the umpire worried that he may have to make a lbw call, The ball beats the bat then manages to find a way through the legs as well to hit middle stump; so an easy decision and the visitors are 19 for 2. David keeps it tight for the rest of the over, a single to the new batsman and then restricting Tom to just two from three balls. 22 for 2

Over 9 Chris Lewis from the scorebox end

Hobbling in from two paces as a result of his knee injury Chris is still bowling well – just a touch two long in his last over where he did hit the stumps but from a no ball. He pins Amar down with a good series of dot balls and then gets the batsman pushing at one just outside off; the ever reliable Hasmukh at short extra gobbling up the catch. The new batsman eases in with a wide and a dot to end the over. 47 for 3.

Alan and Rob both bowled well from the other end, Alan conceding just 11 from his three overs and Rob bowling with good pace and getting the batsman nicking – but although Chis got to one despite his knee, the hands were not as soft and honey-sweet as Hasmukh’s and so there was not a second bowling bonus point to be had. Tom scored 52 in the visitors total with the Devils pleased with the limited number of extras.

Their final game of the season is on the cliff edge in Dorset, the final Highgate game for Metro is on the 5th August when they face Northants in the T20 cup.

Report by Paul Toplis 

Soft Brexit? Hard Brexit? Soft Boiled Egg? Hard Boiled Egg?

Metro Devils Cricket Team

24th June

Ah those hard choices – the first of which on Saturday was for the Devil’s captain who won the toss and with a team of eight, including a debutant, had to choose to bat or bowl first. He elected to put the visitors, who had one more player, into bat.

A brief delay followed the toss waiting for the final Gloucestershire players to arrive. The game began on a day where the clouds were skidding past overhead quite fast on the breeze and the sun only flickered in brief spells, so perhaps with conditions to suit the bowlers. However, the three first choice bowlers in the side were played well by the Growlers opening pair who put on 79 for the first wicket, with no alarms.

It was not until Brenda was thrown the ball that a wicket fell – clean bowled from her fourth delivery, and then one brings two. In her next over, fifth ball, the same result. That was a high point for the home side as this brought the visiting skipper to the crease, who was joined by a new batsman only as the second opener retired on 52, so that by the time the Devil’s skipper bowled his third over and picked up another clean bowled wicket the score had moved on to 184.

The Devils were under pressure – relieved only a little by the retirement of the opposition captain as the Growlers pushed hard to take runs at every opportunity with their wickets in hand. It made for a frantic few final overs and three run outs for the home side before a declaration with the score on 226; with the visitors deciding not to put their retired batsmen back into the middle.

Tea followed, excellently organised by the home captain, in the absence of the regular catering team and the Devils had one of those choices – chase 227 from 26 overs to win, or bat out 26 overs for a draw – a losing draw, of course, in a Regional League match.

With Aemonn and Dave opening it looked as if the challenge of chasing down the total had been taken on. Growlers started well with a tight first over yielding just one run and disaster struck on the third ball of the second bowled by Marc, and perhaps one choice disappeared for the Devils. Dave let a ball go outside leg only for the blustery wind to bend it back in and caress the stumps or their base and the home team were three for one.

David and Aemonn dug in, with David hitting the ball well but was bowled when Dan, the Growler’s high-scoring opener, came on to bowl. There was then a brief flurry from the Devils as Everton hit a very brisk 17, all but one single in boundaries only to then offer a catch to who else but Dan. Brenda joined Aemonn and the choice of batting out seemed back in favour as runs were accumulated with few risks being taken and the next wicket did not fall until the start of the twenty-second over when she trapped leg before by, yes, Dan; Aemonn having retired on reaching 50.

So four down and twenty-nine balls to negotiate with three wickets in hand. However Joseph on debut misjudged his swing second ball and clipped the stumps bringing Hasmukh to join Roy with the momentum having swung to the visitors who now needed two more wickets from twenty-seven balls.

Roy was trapped LBW by Elise in the next over and so Aemonn had to return to the middle and now there were nineteen balls to bat out; single taken. Panic was now setting in for Gloucestershire as their minibus driver appeared and the departure time of six 0’clock had just passed so there was a rush on to bowl three overs, or less if possible, as fast as they could. Aemonn faced two, and Hasmukh four of the next over. Aemonn faced four in the next over and gave Hasmukh the last two.

So the choice was set, would it be yours – to have the hard hitting Aemonn on 59 from 53 balls to face the last over, or the soft hands of Hasmukh who had only faced seven. Regular followers of Metro cricket will recall the heroic defence shown by Hasmukh in snatching a draw from the jaws of a defeat at the cradle of cricket last season and so might have wanted to make use of this experience, especially with Dan bowling the last over.

They may have been right, who knows, as the Growlers were celebrating after just one ball as a swing and a miss to a straight ball brought him a fourth wicket to add to his 52 and a catch. So ended a close fought and very friendly game.

Two away games for Metro follow at Nottingham and then to Sussex for the BBS cup, while the next game at Highgate sees the Devils take on the Berkshire Stags.

Report by Paul Toplis